Software Engineer

University of Kansas   Lawrence, KS   Full-time     Information Services / Technology (IT)
Posted on January 7, 2022
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Bioinformatics Software Engineer

Position Overview

We are looking for a software engineer to contribute to describing and documenting the life of the planet. We support scientists in natural history museums around the world with software that manages and publishes information about the species and specimens curated in research collections of plants and animals. The biological specimens document new species and the distribution of life on Earth. Our open-source Specify software platform is used by 300+ collections around the globe as part of a global research cyberinfrastructure collaboration HQ’d at the University of Kansas.

Do something for the planet, enjoy a pleasant work environment and take advantage of a generous university employee benefits program. You will join a small, competent, and friendly team in a sustainable museum technology initiative operating for over 30 years and experiencing rapid worldwide growth.

The position is funded with revenue from the Specify Collections Consortium, (, a global, non-profit, museum collaboration, organized under the KU administrative umbrella. We offer a flexible, hybrid, 40-hour schedule with offices on the bucolic KU campus, in lovely Lawrence, Kansas. In a post-pandemic future, weekend availability may be required for travel for national and international meetings. Performance is evaluated annually.

Key Functions:
  • Code front-end web applications using software engineering best practices, including those for software documentation to produce components that survive a high degree of test automation.
  • Conduct innovative technology research, concept specification and design for individual software components.
  • Use mastery of object models to implement efficient, testable, extensible code in a database environment.
  • Evaluate, and propose alternative implementation strategies and component classifications for software modules.
  • Work collaboratively as part of a team of software developers to specify, design and code, API interface definitions, web service wrappers, and web applications.
  • We are building Specify’s web UI using Typescript, React, Handsontable, and Leaflet.
  • In the backend we use: Python, Django, Celery, Redis, MySQL or MariaDB, and Docker.

We are Looking for an Applicant Who:
  • Is eager to learn and to seek opportunities for professional growth.
  • Possesses up-to-date knowledge of technological developments and the willingness to learn more.
  • Is proficient or capable of developing competency with both front-end and back-end coding languages: JavaScript, Python, and Java.

Job Description

70% - Design, implement, debug, and maintain user-centric software to create inviting, intuitive user interfaces and great user experiences for biodiversity researchers.

20% - Participate in the software design and requirement gathering process with project stakeholders, including team members, advisory committees, and biological collections researchers to understand software requirements, and help identify and prioritize innovations and capabilities for Specify software.

5% - Participate in daily stand up meetings, team design sessions, code reviews, and contribute to high-level architecture and design choices.

5% - Perform other incidental software engineering/data management tasks as become necessary within the broad scope of the position.

Required Qualifications

  1. A Bachelor’s degree in a science or technology discipline.
  2. Two years of professional (i.e. not course work), intuitive, end-user application development.
  3. Competency and skill in best-practices software design, as evident on application material.
  4. Six months experience with programming relational database systems, must be proficient with SQL, principles of relational database design, and working with MySQL or MariaDB.
  5. Developer’s level understanding of internet standards and DevOps technologies, including: Docker, Nginx, HTTPs and SSH, as evident by application material.
  6. Experience working both independently and collaboratively in a team-based environment as demonstrated by experience, application materials, interview and references.
  7. Strong written and verbal communication skills as demonstrated through application materials, interview and references.

Preferred Qualifications

  1. A Bachelor’s degree in computer science or software engineering.
  2. Developer’s level competency of two or more object-oriented or functional programming languages.
  3. Three to five years of experience in developing intuitive, end-user software applications.
  4. Software development experience with web services.
  5. Professional background in science data processing in museums or environmental sciences.
  6. High social intelligence.

Additional Candidate Instructions

Only complete application packages submitted online will be considered. A complete application includes online application form, resume, cover letter, names and contact information for three professional references.

Application review begins on January 17, 2022 and will continue until a pool of qualified applicants is received.

Contact Information to Applicants

Aimee Stewart,

Advertised Salary Range

$80,000 - commensurate with experience

Work Schedule

Hybrid, 40-hours: M-F

Application Review Begins

Monday, January 17, 2022

Anticipated Start Date

Thursday, February 17, 2022